Real Madrid and Gareth Bale spent a total of nine years together, but it was a rocky relationship, that only continued to worsen as time went on. In his final months before he left the club, he was being described as a parasite in Marca.
That criticism has not ceased, even in his retirement. Mixed into the eulogies from the English-language press are a number of opinions in Spain that were keen not to forget his flaws.
Editor of Diario AS, Alfredo Relano, described his decline at Real Madrid as leading to a ‘sulky uselessness’, before finishing his piece with the following.
“And it’s a shame, because he had exceptional natural conditions in terms of his height, speed and his left leg. But he lacked empathy, and he said it well in that unpleasant ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that Order’.”
Meanwhile on El Larguero of Cadena SER, Alvaro Benito recalled the great goals and the talent, but went onto to criticise his attitude and mentality. “Not going missing against Valladolid is also part off being a Real Madrid player,” Benito chided.
The Welsh winger never really made more than the minimal effort to endear himself to the Madrid press or the public, for right or for wrong, and regardless of what happened on the pitch, that has had a major impact on his legacy.